I’ll admit it. I’ve been scared of this one. It’s only getting a chance today because I have no milk and somewhat limited options at work, otherwise it would have stayed firmly consigned to my “too terrified to drink” pile. I’m not nervous, just cautious.
The dry leaf is an interesting prospect. It’s mostly beige chunks, that I assume are chicory. There are also three freeze-dried raspberries (in a 20g sample), plus a fair helping of cacao nibs. At the bottom of the bag are some very finely shredded brown and green leaves, which I guess has got to be the yerba mate. It’s not how yerba usually looks, though…and if some of it’s green then it’s not all roasted. Unless the green is something else? The ingredients list is out of ideas. There’s no coconut to speak of.
The scent, dry, is bitter and very reminiscent of coffee. I get that. Chicory is a coffee replacement/alternative, so fair enough. I’ve had a few chicory blends of late, although they’re mostly dressed up as root beer/butterbeer style blends. I’m not sure what this one is supposed to be imitating. Raspberry and coconut make me think of cake, and yet something tells me I’m not going to get cake from this one.
It doesn’t smell quite as coffee-like once brewed. Instead, it takes on a nuttiness that reminds me of cashew or macadamia. There’s also a fair hint of chocolate, so that’s reassuring. I was fairly conservative with my brew time – a scant 3 minutes. The scent made me wary, and I don’t like my yerba-based blends over-brewed in any case.
To taste, it’s not quite as bad as I was expecting. It has an edge of bitterness, but the main flavour is dark chocolate and that helps to smooth things out. There’s a touch of coffee, although it’s not particularly strong. If you made a cup of instant with too few granules and too much water, you’d get something like this I imagine (minus the chocolate, sadly for you.) Overall? Chicory and chocolate. Which is fair enough, given that this one’s called Chicory…Choc. I have no idea where the raspberry and coconut went, though. They’re MIA. The yerba isn’t making much of a contribution either, except maybe to round out the earthy roastiness. Let’s say it’s doing that. For argument’s sake, it might be.
I’m not really enjoying this one. It’s not that it’s unpalatable, just that I don’t like it very much. I don’t really understand it, as a blend. If I wanted coffee, I’d drink coffee, and it wouldn’t be anything like as thin and watery as this tastes. It’s not like there’s a shortage of decent chocolate teas, either, although I’m grateful that the cacao nibs bring some redemption to this blend. It needs it.
I would have liked to have been able to taste the raspberry and coconut, because that’s what sold this blend to me. I’ve also come to the conclusion that chicory should only be used in root beer tea, and not for any other purpose. It’s the natural order of things.
Did I like drinking this tea? Not really. Did I learn something from it? Yes.